A look back…via old 45’s (records, not people)

Music takes me back
vividly: braces, a perm,
Singing to my brush

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I know it is the time of year when people look forward, deciding what to resolve to do for at least the next 30 days.  I thought I’d do some reflection, not of the past year, but of my 11-13 year old self.  How? My parents are moving out of the house they have lived in for 40 years.  I thought I had retrieved all my childhood possessions years ago, but alas, mom delivered to me something I missed: a 2 inch stack of old 45 records from the late 70’s and early 80’s.

What a hoot. This is like digging up a time capsule. What a treasure to be able to look back and try to understand my much younger self through my music choices. Here is what I’ve learned or recalled about myself…

1. I was a dork. Who else had the 45 for the Star Wars Theme/Cantina song? How about The Rainbow Connection from the Muppet Movie? I appreciate these movies now as pinnacles of cinematic excellence, but then, owning these was something I probably shouldn’t have advertised.

2. I thought I was a really good singer. Three records I remember playing over and over again, singing at the top of my lungs, convinced I was as good as the original singer:  The Rose (Bette Midler), Torn Between Two Lovers (Mary MacGregor), Nobody Does it Better (Carly Simon).

3. I believed myself to be a good dancer.  Several top-notch disco like dance tunes are prominent in the collection.  Makin it (David Naughton), Hot Line (The Sylvers), The Rubberband Man (The Spinners). When I pulled these up on iTunes to recall them, I could feel my muscles twitch, anxious to get up and shake it.

4. I had good taste in men.  I don’t care how old I get, Shaun Cassidy is dreamy. Yummy. Cutie-pa-tootie. I have the record sleeve from That’s Rock N Roll and it still makes me flutter. That feathered hair! Those blue eyes! That dimple! Did anyone else see him last year on Oprah… still adorable in my book.

5. I believed many famous rock singers fancied me.  I would sit around and sigh heavily while listening to these, convinced that they were written and sung expressly for me.  Beth (Kiss), Even The Nights are Better (Air Supply), Too Much Heaven (The Bee Gees).

6. I was a pathetic follower. What else could explain Double Dutch (Frankie Smith) and Le Freak (Chic) in this collection. I believe I bought and learned the words to these only because the cool kids did. See number 1 here; I was never the cool kid; why did I bother.

7. What was I thinking?  Deja Vu (Dionne Warwick), Hot Summer Nights (Water Egan — who???), I’m Alive (ELO, from the Xanadu Soundtrack).

8. Finally, my favorite category. The “Insta-Recall” records.  If you don’t hear the chorus of each of these as you read this, then clearly you are a lot older or younger than me.  Blinded By the Light (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band), Dancing Queen (ABBA), You Make Me Feel Like Dancing (Leo Sayer), Da Doo Ron Ron (Shaun “Dreamy” Cassidy), Keep it Comin’ Love (KC and the Sunshine Band).  Did you make it through without hearing those songs? I doubt it.

At first I thought this was just a joke gift from my mom. Then I thought perhaps these might be “retirement funders” and spent several minutes getting repeatedly disappointed on eBay. Now I think they are a wonderful gift. I don’t have a turntable anymore, but am contemplating a purchase. At the very least, I have downloaded several of these on iTunes and have been torturing, I mean delighting, the kids with my great voice and killer dance moves. I am going to see if I can find my Shaun Cassidy poster now…

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